Sometimes when I’m traveling to a new country, I find myself wondering where I can buy shampoo and other essential toiletries – especially if I’m in a hurry. I’m usually not one to pack shampoo and other liquids, so I most often find myself buying these products once I get to my destination.
If you’re like me, or if you simply forgot to pack some toiletries, this post is for you! I’ll cover the basics of buying shampoo in Paris, then I’ll answer several frequently asked questions about purchasing these essentials.
A note: I do not use luxury brands for shampoo or conditioner, so I won’t be able to advise much on those products. Instead, I’m going to cover where to find basic toiletries, including some budget-friendly organic or natural options. To find luxury French hair care products, I would suggest that you start your search at a high end hair salon, where the staff should be able to advise you.
Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, known for its beautiful architecture and incredible cuisine. With a population of just over 2 million, Paris is a bustling metropolitan city with plenty of options. The stores in Paris will often have a mix of international and French products, so don’t be surprised if you see a few familiar brands.
While it’s true that you can find very high end or luxury products in France, there are also plenty of cheap and budget-friendly options. For the cheapest toiletries, I’ll advise you in this post to stop by one of the city’s many grocery store chains. If you’d like to peruse a higher end store, visit Le Bon Marché or Galeries Lafayette Haussmann.
Parisian stores that sell shampoo and other essential toiletries
You’ll find essential toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste at most grocery stores in Paris and some pharmacies. For the best selection, I recommend that you shop at one of the following stores:
Carrefour and Franprix are supermarkets, similar to options that you’ll find in the United States. Monoprix is a larger chain that carries both groceries and clothing. If you decide to visit Monoprix, I would recommend that you look at the Google photos briefly to confirm that the store you’re planning to visit carries groceries.
The final shop, Aroma Zone, is more of a specialty store that carries natural and organic products. Aroma Zone is the best place I’ve found in Paris to buy essential oils, natural soaps, and other organic products.
My favorite shampoo and conditioner available in France
I usually don’t bring shampoo and conditioner when I fly, so one of my first stops in Paris is usually to Carrefour to pick up some basic toiletries. My favorite shampoo and conditioner is from SO’BiO étic, a relatively inexpensive brand that seems to work well for me and my hair. I will sometimes pair these with a leave-in conditioner.
The places I’ve stayed in Paris have had reasonably soft water, so I expect that most widely available hair products would work for a short visit to the city.
FAQs: Where to buy shampoo and other essentials in Paris
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about buying shampoo and other essentials in Paris.
What are the words for “shampoo” and “conditioner” in French?
In French, the word for “shampoo” is shampooing and the word for “conditioner” is après-shampooing. Dry shampoo is called shampooing sec, and for leave-in conditioner you can say après-shampooing sans rinçage or revitalisant sans rinçage (this term is more commonly used in Canada).
Thus, for a pair of shampoo and condition, you’ll want to look for shampooing and après-shampooing.
Do pharmacies sell shampoo in France?
Yes, some pharmacies will sell shampoo in France. However, you’ll almost certainly find better options and lower prices if you instead look for shampoo in a grocery store chain. There are grocery stores located throughout Paris – do a quick Google Maps search for “grocery store” for a sense of the options near you.
Pharmacies tend to sell tampons, sunscreen, and a few other essentials. You can see the staples that they have available when you first walk in, but keep in mind that many medicines are kept behind the counter. This includes medicines like ibuprofen and cold medicines, which are typically kept on display at stores in the United States.
Where to buy toiletries in Paris?
The easiest and cheapest place to buy toiletries in Paris is at any of the popular grocery store chains in Paris. If you don’t see toiletries when you first walk in, check to see if there is a set of stairs. Often there are additional sections downstairs.
Do hotels in Paris have shampoo?
Most Paris area hotels will provide shampoo, but it could vary from accommodation to accommodation. If your hotel does not provide shampoo, you can easily purchase some at a nearby grocery store.
Which shampoo is best in France?
I don’t think there is a particular shampoo or brand that is the “best” in France, but I prefer products from the SO’BiO étic line. They seem to keep my hair feeling healthy without weighing it down too much.
If you’re coming to Paris to find luxury products, I would recommend that you either visit an upscale department store or a boutique hair salon. The staff at either of these places should be able to better advise you and help you find products for your hair’s needs.
Where can I find natural or organic products in Paris?
My favorite place to find natural or organic products in Paris is Aroma Zone, located at 25 Rue de l’École de Médecine, 75006 Paris, France in the Odeon area of the city. They have a second location that I have not yet visited in the Opéra neighborhood, which is closer to many Paris area hotels. The address for the second location is 73 Bd Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France, and I would assume that both locations carry similar products.
I stumbled into the Aroma Zone while wandering around Odeon one day in 2022. This store not only has organic and natural shampoo and conditioner bars, but there are essential oils, natural makeup products, and a wide array of other toiletries.
Do French people use hair conditioners?
Yes, some French people use conditioner on their hair. Accordingly, you’ll see both shampoo and conditioner in stores throughout Paris.
Do European hotels have shampoo?
Most European hotels will offer shampoo, but you can usually check their amenities online before you travel. If it’s important to you to have shampoo provided by your hotel, I would suggest that you specifically ask before booking to avoid any surprises. To be on the safe side, I always assume that I’ll need to buy shampoo and conditioner when I arrive, or I’ll pack travel sized bottles in my carry on luggage.
Where can I buy razors in Paris?
Most grocery stores in Paris will also carry razors, but they’ll almost certainly have fewer options than you’re used to seeing. Some grocery stores keep cheaper razors with the toiletries and have the refillable style available behind the checkout desk.
For the best chance of finding the razors you’re used to using at home, I would recommend bringing them with you when you travel. If you’re less picky, you can almost certainly find an option that will work for you at a larger grocery store.
Where can I buy toothbrushes and toothpaste in Paris?
Most any store that sells shampoo will also sell toothbrushes and toothpaste. I would recommend finding a Carrefour or Franprix for these essentials, and note that the larger versions of these stores will probably have more than one level.
As an aside, I love to use tooth powder when I travel abroad because it avoids the complications of flying with liquids. You can buy tooth powder at many natural grocery stores or on Amazon.
Is it safe to brush your teeth with the water in Paris?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink and brush your teeth with the water in Paris. However, if you notice any queasy stomach symptoms, you can always try drinking and brushing your teeth with bottled water to see if it alleviates your symptoms.
Where can I buy ibuprofen in Europe?
In many European countries, ibuprofen is not available over the counter in grocery stores and corner stores like it is in the United States. Instead, it is available from pharmacies (also called chemists in some countries). If you need to buy ibuprofen in a country where English is not widely spoken, the easiest thing to do is to pull up a photo of ibuprofen on your phone and show it to the pharmacist.
Don’t be alarmed if they ask you what you need it for, this is routine in many countries. You can share that you’re having a headache or other ailment, and they’re usually happy to sell it to you. Be forewarned that ibuprofen and acetaminophen can sometimes be more expensive to purchase in Europe, so it’s usually preferable to bring a small bottle from the US if you think you may need them.
Where can I buy decongestants or other drugs in Paris?
Similar to ibuprofen, you can find decongestants and other drugs that are typically available over-the-counter in the pharmacies in Paris. Expect to see differences in brands.
There are slight differences in the dosing and availability of medicines in Europe, so it’s usually best to bring a photo of the product you’re looking for so that the pharmacist can help you find the closest product. Always ask for medication using the name of the drug, not the brand name (i.e. ibuprofen and not Advil).
Remember that the pharmacist is there to help you! Have Google Translate downloaded on your phone in case you need some additional help communicating.
Where can I buy deodorant in Paris?
You’ll find deodorant is widely available in Paris, just check at a local grocery store for some of the larger brands. If you’d like to purchase a natural deodorant, you can find an option at Aroma Zone. They have natural stick deodorants available for purchase.
Final thoughts: Where to buy shampoo in Paris
As you may have gathered from this post, many of the products that you’re accustomed to using in the US will be available in Paris. As you may be aware, there are some products that are banned in the European Union, so if you’re having a particularly hard time finding a product you can always look to see if it is sold in France. For the most part, you should be able to find everything you need and anything you’ve forgotten – it just may be a French brand instead.
Remember to always greet people in Paris with a pleasant “bonjour” before asking any questions, as it is very rude to skip this greeting. Don’t be afraid to look up terms on your phone, a lifesaver if you’re looking for something specific like a decongestant in a pharmacy.
Are there other products that you’ve found yourself looking for while in Paris? If so, send me an email and I’ll try to add them to this list!